Selected Correspondence Peter
RESPONDENT: Let me start by explaining my understanding of a few concepts that I mentioned in my mail a little further.
Humility: My view is that there actually is something that could be called true humility, not meaning that we should bow to higher powers or to some authority. Not some kind of pretence that we’re trying to portrait in a suitable manner. True humility can be expressed as openness, spontaneity, non-rigidity and lack of self-consciousness, at least to some degree.
PETER: Well, openness means ‘absence of secrecy, or reserve; frankness, candour, sincerity’, according to the Oxford Dictionary. I think you might agree that these qualities fall into the ‘ideal’ basket as far as human beings are concerned. The lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning entity that dwells within the flesh and blood body of every human has a dark side of instinctual passions that needs to be hidden from others. It is only when this entity is absent, as in the ‘self’-less state of a pure consciousness experience, that the ideal of openness is seen as but one of the many unachievable human ideals that attempts to mimic actual innocence and perfection.
The spiritual version of openness is being vulnerable, which means
Many spiritual seekers distort the word vulnerability to be a sign of being ‘sensitive’ to others or being psychically ‘tuned in’ to others. However, human beings are sometimes open, sometimes closed, sometimes defensive, sometimes attacking but always wary and on-guard, for this is our instinctual programming in operation. Whilst one remains a ‘self’ one cannot help but have one’s guard up, both psychologically and psychically, for the body is programmed for self-defence, which the entity inside automatically interprets as ‘self’-defence.
The other qualities you mention are also ideals that humans struggle to maintain in a constant battle to control their instinctual emotions. Most do reasonably well, except when push comes to shove, and all ideals, morals and ethics are off in times of threat, conflict and war.
Actual innocence lies beyond ‘self’-immolation. Given that the very nature of the actual universe is both pure and perfect, these same qualities are then automatically and spontaneously the qualities of one who lives in Actual Freedom.
RESPONDENT: Taking no position = The ending of all fixed ideas and defensiveness.
PETER: This sounds as though it is the advice of someone who doesn’t want you to make your mind up about anything. This theory is not applied in the world of practical things and events. We humans take many positions. Where we work, where we live, who we live with, what we wear, what we eat, what we want to believe and what we chose not to, what car we drive, what computer program we use, etc. And yet, when it comes to the most vital questions as to human existence, the universe and what it is to be a human being, we are extolled by the Wise Ones to abandon taking a position? Should Galileo not have taken a position, should Columbus have never left Spain, should Pasteur not have taken a position, should Darwin not have taken a position, should LeDoux not take a position? Why should you not take a position about your life?
In the spiritual world taking a position in support of a belief is deemed highly desirable and is rewarded and welcomed by other like-minded believers, but taking a position based on facts and empirical scientific evidence has always been roundly condemned by the church, for facts are anathema to believers. All of the great leaps forward that have increased human safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure have been resisted by spiritual believers and it is only when empiricism broke from the church in the Middle Ages that intelligence began to hold sway over fear-ridden superstition and arcane belief.
Should you take a position based on fact and discard belief you too will run the gauntlet of scorn, derision and ostracization for that is the price to pay for walking upright and free in the world; but the rewards are far in excess of the spiritual ideals for they are actual, tangible, palpable and ever-present. Once you get a taste of what is actual, any synthetic feeling is seen as a paltry second-best.
RESPONDENT: Not knowing: To acknowledge the fact that there still is very much that our human minds can’t grasp and that we might never comprehend fully. To be open for the unthinkable possibility.
PETER: This physical universe is infinite – as big as it gets – and eternal – without a beginning or end – so it is inconceivable that humans will ever know all there is to know. Already the published discoveries are so much more than is possible for any one person to know. Even in one field of science or practical endeavour the amount of study, research and papers published would exceed the capacity of any one person to comprehend, let alone absorb.
But 3,500 years on from the ancient Wise Ones we do know that praying to God, or believing in and surrendering to God-men, has not brought peace to earth, quite the contrary.
Up until now spiritual teachings have been impossible to question openly and sensibly for they were jealously guarded by the priests and their fervent followers, and even then to abandon belief would have meant going back to a God-less existence in the ‘real’ world, bereft of any hope. Thus it is that people usually swap beliefs – Western for Eastern, Heavenly God for Mother Earth, etc. – rather than stop believing in God by whatever name.
Thanks to the Internet we can now conduct our own independent research as to the facticity of Ancient Wisdom and trace it back to its original teachings, we can compare the many Truths on offer and stop the game of pretending that not knowing is a sign of wisdom rather than of stubborn ignorance. There is simply no excuse for not knowing what the Truth is, and when this is discovered each of us is then capable of taking a position as to whether to keep believing in it or abandoning it.
We humans now have enough information at our fingertips to stop ‘not knowing’ and begin to know about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. This knowledge, when combined with the experiential knowledge of the human potentiality as experienced in a pure consciousness experience, is the key to freedom from the human condition.
‘To be open for the unthinkable possibility’ usually means to be open to God, by whatever name, or ‘to be open’ to all sorts of spurious meta-physical theories, such as space-time continuums, dark matter, black holes, cyclic time, time reversing universes, parallel universe, etc.
RESPONDENT: These qualities/values can be very useful when investigating in a serious manner. I don’t think they contradict with empirical studies either, they could be used when formulating theses and in theoretical science for example. They might not be that useful in every execution of a study in the laboratory, then it’s of course our rational ‘side’ of our minds that are good at structuring and comparison that rule.
PETER: It is our fellow human beings, the practical scientists, chemists, engineers, explorers and the like that have given we humans very useful things. The Gurus, philosophers, theoretical scientists and the like have given us nothing but theories, beliefs, concepts, ideas, scenarios, dreams, nightmares, hope and hopelessness.
As I began to abandon the spiritual world, I serendipitously discovered someone who had abandoned Enlightenment and had worked out a ruthlessly effective empirical method for eliminating one’s social identity and all of one’s instinctual passions. Give me something that works over an ideal or a theory any day.
RESPONDENT: Don’t you think that these qualities actually could help in experiencing the PCE? If one is going to be able to perceive life directly as it really is instead of trying to force reality upon us (ASC) I think that we have tremendous use of humility and openness.
PETER: If one begins by feeling humble and then goes searching for an experience of something other than grim reality, I suspect one will end up finding a Greater Reality to feel humble to and feelings of gratitude will come sweeping in. By being ‘open for the unthinkable possibility’ any form of impassioned imagination is possible.
However, if your search is for purity and perfection and you keep whittling away at your beliefs, then one day while wistfully contemplating and softly relaxing, you might notice a sensuous delight, a vibrancy in things around you, a perfection and purity, a silence and infinitude beyond imagination. But be careful not to seize the experience as yours or you will feel the chest swell and the head swoon and in will flood passionate imagination to replace actual delight.
RESPONDENT: Speaking of words, here are a few I would like to ask you to consider ... why do they exist in our vocabulary ... where did they come from ... what are they trying to express?
PETER: Gods and God-men, shamans and priests have forever demanded that their followers humble themselves in the face of some mythical Higher Power. As I well know from my spiritual years, there are none so proud of their humility than spiritual seekers, for the more one humbles oneself, the more one debases and humiliates oneself and the more faithful and loyal one is, the more one’s personal self will be diminished and the more one’s Divine Self will be strengthened and enhanced.
Humbling oneself to a Higher Power, trying to become God, or cunningly becoming ‘one with Him’ – a sort of a ‘God and I are best mates’ scenario – taps into a deep pathological dependency that has been cunningly utilized by the Gurus to wield power over others and to wage horrendous wars on rival Gurus, shamans, priests and God-men for centuries.
PETER: Gods and God-men, shamans and priests have forever demanded that their followers surrender their will and blindly and unquestionly follow. To surrender is but to give in. One surrenders to the tried and true belief in God and thus accepts that nothing will ever change. I for one would not, and could not, stop until I found something better than old time, or New Dark Age, religions. Of course, the first step was when I realized, right in the middle of one of those sublime moments of surrender to a Master, that I was but a sheep and far, far from being a free human being.
PETER: Gods and God-men, shamans and priests have forever demanded that their followers listen but what they really mean is feel not listen, for as you yourself said ‘those who only hear words, these ONES are easily dismissed’. What the God-men are saying is feel what I am saying in the heart and turn ‘inwards’, away from the evils of the ‘outer’ world. Unfortunately the Jew who fights the Arab feels god in his heart, the Catholic fighting the Protestant both feel God in their hearts, the Indian fighting the Pakistani both feel God in their hearts, the awakened ones who accuse others of not being awake feel God in their hearts, the Rajneeshee who riles against the Christians feels God in his or her heart, the seeker who feels his or her Master is the best and only true Master feels God in his or her heart. To hold someone dear in your heart often means you are willing to kill or die for that person. When that someone is a mythical God, by whatever name, that very same passion has fuelled all the religious and spiritual warfare that has caused countless millions of human beings to kill, maim, rape and torture each other over the millennia.
RESPONDENT: I am awake, but I am not perfect in the eyes of some, perhaps most. So what? Most people have such a misunderstanding of what it means to be enlightened. Enlightened people are just people who have seen the fact of our being one with all life. I just live my life not harming any one or any thing. That is simple, we can all do that, awake or not.
PETER: Well, that’s a bit of a come down for the exalted and much prized state of Enlightenment. This seems to none other than the ‘we are all enlightened, we only have to realize it’ psittacism that is floating around the spiritual world. So now, I assume your teaching is simplified even further to – if everyone sees ‘the fact of our being one with all life’ and ‘just lives (their) life not harming any one or any thing’ then there will be peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: Why not? I am awake, I harm nothing or no one. If everyone just lived that simply were would the wars and killing come from? It is true that the mind of the unenlightened is the same mind as the enlightened, except for the enlightened have awakened to a clear direct seeing the fact before our eyes.
PETER: Okay, let’s look at the facts before our eyes. The Dalai Lama is an avowed Buddhist who would claim that he would harm nothing and no one. He is a pacifist, which meant when someone invaded his country he fled. Now if everyone in the country you lived in was a pacifist it is like hanging out a sign – pleas invade – we won’t stop you. The Dalai Lama, now safe behind the protection of the Indian army is busily trying to get someone else to free his country. Pacifism is an unliveable ideal in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are. Do you not rely on the guns of the police and army for the privilege of feeling a pacifist? Would not it be more sensible to tackle the root cause of malice and sorrow – the instinctual animal passions in humans – rather than striding the moral high ground sprouting unliveable ethics that completely ignore the facts before our eyes.
The Enlightened not only cop-out from acknowledging any malice in themselves but they also cop-out from acknowledging sorrow in themselves. As you yourself stated Enlightenment means that one no longer identifies with one’s personal suffering but that one feels universal sorrow or compassion for others. This is easily seen in action whereby they continually rile against the unenlightened as the cause of wars and suffering. The excuse for this malevolence is that they feel compassion towards those who have yet to realize that the wars and killing is all a dream – created by their ego – from which they haven’t yet awakened.
RESPONDENT: There has been no one in my life who I let believe I was some high and mighty being because I was awake. I have had a problem with people who have tried to put me on a pedestal for just being awake. If I let them it would just be ego playing another game.
PETER: Why should people want to put you on a pedestal in the first place? Just what Guru-energy are you radiating? Is it you or your seductive message of dissociation from the symptoms of the animal instinctual passions in operation in humans? Do you find you have to be humble to put them off? Again your actions of putting yourself above Father Dionysus, Otto Kernberg and Ammachi on the list does seem to weaken your case for being an ordinary man. It must be a tricky business getting these balances just right.
RESPONDENT: As soon as someone manifests some form of Divine Inspiration there are a host of people just waiting to credit that person. As if the person created something.
PETER: The Gurus and shaman have created an illusion of their own Divinity in a Greater Reality out of the illusion of Evil in a grim reality. If someone becomes completely deluded such that they are absolutely convinced they are Divine, then they are compelled to spread the message. Being a Saviour of Mankind is part and parcel of the grand delusion – not an optional extra.
RESPONDENT: It takes a very balanced person to insist that there is no ownership of Divine Inspiration, it is available to us all and the only real value a teaching has is whether or not other people find something that helps them on their path.
PETER: I guess what you are alluding to is true humility. I always find it kind of cute that someone who says they are God-realized, a Chosen One, Divinely Inspired or whatever, also somehow have the gall to claim to be humble while exacting humility out of their followers.
RESPONDENT: That is what a teaching is, a gift to us all, not a bargaining chip of authority.
PETER: This is the source of humility, that one should feel grateful to some Big Daddy, God, Existence, the Teacher by proxy, or whatever other name, for the Gift of feeling Divine and Immortal. The chance for peace on earth is readily sacrificed for the chance of ‘me’ receiving this sacred Gift.
PETER to No 7: As for your comment that ‘the greatest challenge is ... to remain humble’, we need to be clear about spiritual humbleness. Humbleness is just pride stood on its head. There are none so proud of their humbleness as the spiritual seekers. Humbleness is highly valued and prized as a virtue in all spiritual traditions for the follower is proud of being a humble follower and the God-man is humbled before his or her God. The Dalai Lama continuously claims to be a humble monk and is revered and admired for saying it. If he is sincere, why doesn’t he get down off his throne, throw of his Kingly and Godly mantles and be a humble monk. When I became aware of how proud I was to be a chosen one, how special it made me feel, how being humble was but a front for rampant pride, it was extraordinary revealing. What I was able to clearly see was that it was my pride that ensnared me in the spiritual world and this awareness made getting out so much easier. Peter, List B, No 7, 24.5.2000
RESPONDENT: This seems to me to be a completely disrespectful and flippant dig at His Holiness the Dalai Lama and it really does nothing to serve your point.
PETER: Well, if you could get beyond your moral indignation and continually crying ‘unfair’ you might be able to see that the Dalai Lama’s hypocrisy in not being what he says he is, well illustrates my point. Show me an ex-God-man who got off his throne or podium, has forsaken his Holiness and happily settled down with his wife and kids in suburbia – then you would be making a valid point. I don’t have to bow down to God-men in humble respect for the whole idea of Gods and Goddesses is a myth.
Being an atheist and an actualist is wonderfully extraordinarily freeing.
RESPONDENT: But more troubling still is your argument that humility can be equated with pride. That the individual often corrupts that which is revealed in spiritual experience by making it their own is a valid point, one that you might discover is given tremendous focus by all the world’s traditions. I also appreciate your discovery of this movement within yourself as I have seen the same movement in my own experience. It is one of the biggest traps for the seeker. But that in absolutely no way means that it is forgone conclusion that pride is the true face of humility. To argue this is simply illogical and deeply cynical. It basically says humility is not possible. Where’s the common sense in this?
PETER: Of course feeling humble is possible. Billions of people on the planet practice and feel deep humility as they pray to or prostrate themselves before their imaginary Gods. Are not all seekers, followers and believers, encouraged, coerced and extolled to be more humble, more surrendered, more devoted? The more humble and the more surrendered the better, and the more proud one is of one’s humility – which is exactly my point. Given that feeling humble means
I eventually came to see it as a silly feeling to indulge in.
It eventually became beneath my dignity as an autonomous human being to feign humbleness by belittling myself to a mythical God or to a fellow human being who humbly declared he or she was God-realized or God-intoxicated.
PETER to No 14: You can see he has a problem here because he believes that God has made man ‘an organic whole’ so there is no chance of eliminating the instinctually programmed malice and sorrow. He has to propose transcending it, or rising above it. It’s the same old Ancient Wisdom from the Dark Ages. But it is the next bit that is interesting, and it’s from the very same discourse.
Remember above, he says –
and then he follows with –
What he is clearly proposing is repression, rejection, and denial of the facts of history. Is this not ‘right and wrong’, ‘good and bad’, Buddhas and Tyrants, Gods and Devils? Is this His solution? What a fairy tale, what a massive delusion. It almost sounds like Christian morality to me but when one digs a bit deeper the morality of the East and that of the West are little different.
So, I could go on but I have written much of my experiences as a grateful follower of Rajneesh. In the end I had to admit I had been ‘sucked in’ by his poetic idealism of a New Man and the utterly selfish attraction of me being one of those ‘specially chosen’ for the role. It proved a mortal blow to both my pride and humility, for I could no longer deny the facts of Rajneesh’s failure and my own desperate need to believe in fairy stories. The dream failed in Oregon, fizzled to a whimper by the time he died and is hardly even mentioned now.
PETER: Good to get a note from you with some questions –
So, here are some iconoclastic answers, with not a hint of humility.
Humility is such a phoney concept and only covers the pride and arrogance lurking beneath. It is well practiced in the East to the point of absurdity. And there is non so self-righteous as he/she who thinks they are at one with God, God’s messenger, or has the power of God in there hearts or hands... or some similar scenario.
Some-one said to me recently that what I am talking is Wisdom. He missed the point as he was simply trying to fit the facts as I was conveying them and fitting them into his tradition. Buddhism was his thing, but when I pointed out there were serious doubts as to whether Mr. Buddha was an actual flesh and blood human, as there is a similar lack of factual evidence for there ever having been a Mr. Jesus, the conversation died in the bum. Too close to his personal beliefs! So much for Wisdom...
RESPONDENT: Peter wrote: – so much words that I can only ... pay you respect because: Your Ego is 100 tons weight and you have very, very strong neck in order to carry this monster. Almost alone against all that people on the list for about how much time – 3 weeks? Even if I actually don’t agree with you in many points I still pay you respect ...
PETER: Respect is a fickle thing. As with the guy I mentioned above, he paid a sort of respect in saying I was talking wisdom, but then would be saying something different about me to others. The way I look at the issue is similar to the way I look at a building. I have been a builder, and when I see a building that is built well, I admire the way it is built because I can see the care, consideration and effort that has gone into it. It is an admiration of the quality of human achievement.
When I met Richard, I admired what a fellow human being had achieved in ridding himself of malice and sorrow.
What an extra-ordinary achievement to have found a solution such that it is now a realistic expectation that one day there will be an end to war, murder, torture, abuse, famine, repression, religion, spiritual-ism, suicide, depression and sadness. Not only to have discovered a way to be free of the Human Condition, but also to have worked out a simple method, whereby anyone can do it themselves, and to be able to effectively convey it to others with the written word, wherever they are on the planet.
A bit from my journal might give you another view point –
RESPONDENT: ... or maybe your endless arguing with people on the list is helping you to ripe your Ego, to make it perfect ...
PETER: What I see is, that someone who swans around being at one with God or God-realised with worshipping disciples is on the Grandest of all Ego Trips. And we let them get away with it because we are instinctually driven to follow the herd, to want to make someone else a leader so we can meekly follow.
It’s such a poor excuse not to look at what anyone is saying to do the old ‘your just ego-tripping’ thing. In this country we call it the tall-poppy syndrome – any one who sticks their head above the crowd gets it cut off.
That’s why I like the times we live in – the Net allows a conversation like this for the first time in human history – where one is able, with reasonable safety, to challenge the Wisdom of the past. I did sit down for a long while to contemplate the safety of doing what I am doing but I also figure that who I am talking to may be riled, but only aggressive with words. I remember a childhood rhyme that went ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’.
RESPONDENT: or you are actually an enlightened person and in subtle way you helping people to release the pressure in a way that they finally have somebody to say: ‘Fuck you!’
PETER: I like Richard’s description that the Enlightened Ones have feet of clay. No doubt many sought a genuine freedom based on their peak experiences, but they have been seduced by the Glory, Glamour and Glitz of Enlightenment. And then they collect followers, found a movement, and yet another religion is born. Some, unable to muster the required level of megalomania to stand on their own, slot into a ‘lineage’, thus latching on to the power and authority of their master. This is usually safely done when the master is dead and thus their ‘credentials’ can remain unchallenged.
The Guru’s have had there day, but it is what they have chosen to do with their lives. I just see them as peddlers of snake oil. They sell a feel-good ‘balm’ for a disease, that offers ‘relief’ if you are believe it, but does nothing to cure the disease called the Human Condition.
And, no, there is no way I can ‘help’ anybody, nor would I want to. I am simply pointing out the facts of what it is to be a human being, the facts about the world or the belief system we are born into and programmed with, and my experience of how to become actually free of it. I am also pointing out the traps and failures of the ancient God-ridden paths that offer a mere synthetic ‘feeling’ of freedom – a poor, poor substitute for the actual freedom that most people have experienced for fleeting times in their lives.
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